Time to Update That Resume – Really! Just Read On!
I wonder sometimes how much creative energy people exert in coming up with faux holidays and observances like Left Handers Day, International Astrology Day, World Hello Day, or International Take a Martian to Breakfast Month.
OK, I was kidding on that last one. But if anyone wants to run with it, be my guest.
Which brings me to International Update Your Resume Month, which we’re almost halfway through.
Much as many of us would probably blow it off as just another marketing gimmick, it at least sends us a reminder that – whether we’re looking for a new job or content with the ones we have – we need to stay on top of that important document, as well as our LinkedIn profiles, since both will contain much of the same information.
So, here are three questions you must ask yourself about the current state of your resume:
Is it a good reflection of what I’ve accomplished, and can it help me get to the next level of my career? Make sure that each entry on your resume shows how you made a difference for your current, or a past employer. And numbers help, so they can have a sense whether you’re a good candidate. For instance, “Consistently sold 20% above my annual quota for five straight years in a challenging domestic market” is better than “Sold widgets for five straight years in the Western region.”
Is it attractive; that is, easy for someone to read? You may have an impressive resume and you may be the right person for the job, but if your resume is a block of bland text without variances in looks (that is, boldface type in the right spots, bullet points, and your name and contact information in larger type), it’s going to be very hard to maintain the hiring manager’s attention when he or she reads it. Rule of thumb: Have a relative or trusted friend read your resume. If he or she gets bored within the first 30 seconds, you need to go back and rework it.
Most importantly, does it make it clear to the hiring manager that I can fill the role they need to fill? First and foremost, your resume is a marketing document, and the most critical tool in your job search arsenal. Without a good resume that convinces the hiring manager that you’re a strong fit, there’s no interview, no offer, and no potentially great opportunity to advance your career. That’s why you need to know what you want, have the experience that shows you know how to do the job, and give them a few examples of what you’ve accomplished in your career that can convince the hiring manager you’re a worthy candidate.
If it’s time to update your resume, ensuring you have adequate answers to those three basic questions will suffice in marking this annual “tune up” for your resume. But a resume isn’t something that should be updated every year. Freshen it up every quarter or six months, because you never know when you’ll have to be ready for that next opportunity.
And once you’ve done observing International Update Your Resume Month, turn your attention to one or more of these other September “holidays”: Classical Music Month, Chicken Month, or, should the spirit – or your palate – move you, National Blueberry Popsicle Month.
What other suggestions would you have about updating your resume? Tell us in a comment below.